The Night is Different: Sensescapes and Affordances

Author(s): Kathryn Kamp; John Whittaker

Year: 2016


Archaeology has paid scant attention to the differences between diurnal and nocturnal landscapes, and the differences in meaning and use implied and constrained by the change from day to night. We also neglect the multi-sensoral nature of the landscape. Vision is emphasized almost to the exclusion of hearing, smell, and touch. Humans are diurnal animals emphasizing vision, and modern archaeologists are further biased by our brightly lit world of electricity, neon, and LED screens in which a nighttime without artificial light and cultural clutter is optional. We need to examine biology, psychology, and cross-cultural behavior to understand both the limitations imposed by the relative and variable darkness of night, and the potential offered by nocturnal landscapes when analyzed as sensescapes, rather than as viewscapes. We discuss the prehistoric world of the southwest, where considering the difference between night and day may inform us about the lived experience of occupants of the Flagstaff region.

Cite this Record

The Night is Different: Sensescapes and Affordances. Kathryn Kamp, John Whittaker. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 402931)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;